Full text: Problems in eugenics

404Section IV.F. W. Mott. 
be possible for every labourer and artisan. For if the rich and the intel­ 
lectuals will in a progressive manner restrict their birth-rate, natural selec­ 
tion is deprived of its rights among these classes, and Eugenists can have no 
sympathy with such but rather with the masses of the people. The wealth 
of the nation depends upon labour, and labour demands a sufficiency to live 
and propagate under far more favourable conditions than now exist in our 
great cities, where the poorer the people and the more uncertain their wages 
the higher is the rent demanded for the miserable tenements in which they 
have to bring up a family. It is a fact, as Professor Karl Pearson keeps 
urging, that at the present time in Great Britain restriction of families is 
occurring in one-half or two-thirds of the people, including nearly all the 
best, while children are being freely born to the feeble-minded, the 
criminal, the pauper, the thriftless casual labourer, and other denizens of 
the one-roomed tenements of our great cities. The alien Jew and Irish 
Roman Catholic have large families as their religion prohibits restriction, 
perhaps unfairly in the case of the Irish, for the poorest classes of the 
population in some of our large cities are largely of Irish extraction. Profes­ 
sor Pearson keeps warning us that 25% of our population, made up mainly 
of the above-mentioned poor types, is producing 50% of our children, and 
if this goes on must lead to degeneracy. If the better classes will not 
propagate they must pay for the propagation of the poorer classes, and 
natural selection, aided by human effort, must encourage the propagation 
of the fit and the cutting off the lines of inheritance of the unfit. 
In considering the subject of Heredity and Eugenics in relation to 
insanity, we have to ask ourselves what constitutes insanity at the present 
time. It is often extremely difficult to draw the line between sanity and 
insanity. It may, however, be asserted that a person is insane who, on 
account of disease or disordered function of the brain, can no longer feel, 
think or act in accordance with the customs and social usages of the com­ 
munity in which he lives. An individual is judged to be sane or insane 
by his conduct, but behaviour by itself without consideration of the social 
environment is an insufficient criterion. Every case of insanity is a 
biological problem, the solution of which depends upon a knowledge of 
what a man was born with “ nature ” and what has happened after birth 
“nurture.” No child is born insane, though it may be born feeble­ 
minded, either from actual organic disease or an inborn germinal cerebral 
deficiency. The former, being an acquired character, is not transmissible; 
it is better to speak of such mental defects as congenital. Congenital 
defect is not heritable, a fact of very considerable importance in diagnosis, 
especially as regards segregation with the view of prevention of transmission 
of feeble-mindedness.Registered Insanity in TLondon. 
The registered pauper insanity in London is 5*5 per 1,000 of the total 
population, whereas for England and Wales it is 3-4 per 1,000; naturally

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